834Re: Are we serious?
- May 20, 2007Dear Bruce,
Thankyou for breaking your silence, even if reluctantly. Let me comment on several portions of your post.
BRUCE <<<My own silence in response to Kym Smith's proposal of some months ago, to be frank rather than silent for a moment, was due to the fact that I found that proposal rhetorically overelaborate and aetiologically unconvincing.>>>
By 'aetiologically unconvincing' I suspect that you mean that my explanation of the relationships between the gospels and why and who used what (or whom) is not convincing. Whether or not you are right, to be told that much is useful because it makes one review and reassess ones work. It is better to be told that than to have no response at all.
That my proposal is 'rhetorically overelaborate', on the other hand, seems to be saying that it is worked out in too much detail, that it is too comprehensive for something which we would assume will always have some vagaries. You will need to tell me if I am not reading you correctly.
On the latter point, your first, what I have written on the list is a simple summary. It comes out of three quite different books but which all work together to give a whole picture. ('Redating the Revelation and.'; 'The Amazing Structure of the Gospel of John' and 'The Synoptic Problem: A Johannine Solution'). Much work has gone into allowing the comprehensiveness of this solution. That the Synoptic Problem could be worked out to such detail might be more than we could have hoped for, but it is what we should hope for. It is the destination that is most important!
BRUCE <<<My sense of the NT field at large is that it no longer regards the Synoptic Problem as very important; some major figures in the field have told me so directly.>>>
I guess endlessly turning over the same material would lead to few new insights and so energies might be better spent elsewhere. As you say, '.work on [the SP] tends to reach a technical impasse.' If, however, new discoveries allow new insights, there may be much to gain from reigniting the discussion. The redating of most of the NT and the priority of the Revelation over much of it certainly allows a new and, I would say, helpful - if broad - perspective.
Few would disagree that a new technical or literary breakthrough is required for the discussion to progress any further. But it is precisely this that I believe I have found. It was not a long lost 'copy of Q from the dusty sands of Egypt' (as per Jim West) but a literary clue in the texts we have ever had before us. It would have continued unnoticed if not for the work I have done on the structure of John.
Reread the solution I have proposed. How significant would it be if the uncompleted, apostolic work which I suggested was begun and abandoned (AEEMark) could be recovered? That is what I believe I have done. And AEEMark then provides clues to the relationships between the three later gospels (Jn, Mt and Lk) which then allow such a detailed solution to be offered.
BRUCE <<< The trend of those implications seems to be distinctly unfavorable to certain clauses of the Nicene Creed. This is the sort of situation that is almost guaranteed to produce a stalemate, unless indeed it is to produce a split. Probably nobody in the field wants a split, and it looks to me as though we are in the middle of just such a stalemate.
In that situation, a tacit agreement to leave the thing alone, and go on to other questions, is a not unnatural response. I conclude that the field, and this list along with the rest of the field, is behaving in a very natural way.>>>
The solution I have offered poses no threat to orthodoxy. If anything, it strengthens it. However, even if it did threaten it, if the pursuit of truth means the exposure of wrong views, no matter how long-held, we should not, thereby, be put off. If truth is truth it will prevail - even if we are its eventual casualties. It is 'behaving in a very natural way', in the sadder sense of 'natural', if we are put off, and an unworthy unity we would be seeking to uphold.
St Luke's Anglican Church
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